New MOS rules will welcome windmills to minigolf?
17 Mar 2009 at 20:22 | Published by: JJM | Views: 8315 | News search
Hans Olofsson playing a windmill with moving obstacle. (Photo by Ted Detweiler 2008)
The Technical Committee of WMF has prepared a proposal for specific competition rules for MOS adventure golf courses.
The proposed new MOS rules (which must be approved by WMF General Assembly before they take effect) include the statement: "obstacles can be moving, if they are calculable and predictable". For example, a windmill lane with moving wings would be accepted, if the wings move with a predictable speed.
This rule opens the door for a new skill element in minigolf: timing of the shot (to get the ball through a gate, which opens and closes after short time intervals). Hitting the ball at the correct moment is not a matter of "luck" (if the obstacle moves at a reasonably slow speed): it is clearly a skill, which can be learned and mastered perfectly. But many minigolfers have strong opinions against moving obstacles, because timing is not a traditional skill element in golf or minigolf. Some people believe that such an element makes the game look less serious sport, in the eyes of the general public. Moving obstacles have been used mainly in British and American "crazy golf" traditions.
The new rule sketch does not specify what kind of changes in speed of the obstacles are allowed, and how short the required time of hitting the ball can be. This detail is essential for making difference between a learnable skill and an unlearnable matter of luck: if a gate opens and closes every 5 seconds, talented players can learn to hit the ball at the correct moment. But if the gate opens and closes 30 times per second (quicker than the human eye can see), getting the ball through the gate would be a matter of luck without any controllable skill element.
The proposed new MOS rules also include a statement about walls: "Borders (if existing) must be made of durable, use-intended materials and they must
be smooth and calculable (e.g. straight bricks, metal, wood, fibrecement,
concrete) at least for those parts which can be used as borders for technical and
This proposed rule would allow MOS courses to be without any walls (in which case the nature of the game would be quite similar to golf, without much focus on the ball material). Any existing walls are required to be smooth, giving a predictable bounce to the ball.
Many adventure golf courses in United States, including the USPMGA courses in North Myrtle Beach, have old worn-out bricks as wall material. The hole is often behind a corner, and players must hit the ball to these uneven bricks, which throw the ball to a random direction. The proposed new MOS rule intends to remove this kind of "luck elements" from official competitions.
However, the proposed rule seems to (unnecessarily) ban totally unplayable wall materials, such as round natural stones, which are intended for stopping the ball from rolling away from the lane (especially when unskilled amateurs are playing). While the rule allows courses without any borders, it would be logical to allow also completely unplayable wall materials. The nature of the game would be similar in both cases — with the difference that unplayable walls help the general public to get a more enjoyable playing experience, as a wall stops the ball from rolling away from the minigolf lane.» memorandum of WMF Technical Committee meeting 31 Jan 2009